Identical twins Oscar and Luca were born at the Women’s more than 10 weeks premature.
Weighing only 464 grams at birth, Luca held on for just seven days before his tiny body gave up. With a birth weight of 776 grams, Oscar survived. Their mother Erica shares her family’s story.
“We had a healthy identical twin pregnancy up until 19 weeks, when a routine ultrasound showed the placenta shared by Oscar and Luca was not divided evenly. We were told that Luca was unlikely to survive more than 10 days, and due to shared blood vessels in the placenta, there was also a high chance of losing Oscar. We were devastated.
We had ultrasounds every two days and, against the odds, Luca continued to hold on within the womb. But at 26 weeks and five days’ gestation, the ultrasound revealed that Luca’s health was deteriorating and the risk of losing him was suddenly imminent. The only choice was to deliver early. They were born that evening via emergency caesarean section.
Luca’s birth weight was a tiny 464 grams – his poor placental share had severely compromised his growth and made his battle to live in the outside world all the more difficult. Luca fought for so long to live but just seven days after he entered the world, his tiny body gave up. We got to hold him for the first and last time.
Oscar’s birth weight was 776 grams. Tiny by anybody’s standards, but compared to Luca he seemed positively big and robust. Oscar was born crying – the most wonderful sound parents of a premature baby can hear.
Oscar faced numerous health issues due to his prematurity, the most serious being chronic lung disease, but he did remarkably well at overcoming them. Along with oxygen therapy for his lungs, he was given caffeine to reduce his apnoea episodes, light therapy for jaundice, three blood transfusions for iron deficiency and regular eye examinations to test for retinopathy of prematurity.
Just as important to Oscar’s long-term progress was the ongoing physiotherapy and developmental care he received.
After 167 days in the Women’s NISC unit, Oscar finally came home to us. He is now 15 months old (nearly 12 months if he was born full-term) and it is hard to believe our beautiful, intelligent, healthy little man had the terrible start to life he did.
The birth of Oscar and Luca and their fight to live both in the womb and in the real world affected our family deeply. It was a long and emotional journey, in which Oscar required time to do the growing and developing he was supposed to do in the womb. The specialised medical care from the NISC doctors and nurses was invaluable in helping him to do this.
Fundraising for the Women’s through The Oscar and Luca Fund has offered us a tangible way to help support these doctors and nurses. We hope it allows the amazing work of the Women’s to continue to grow and help other babies.”
For more information contact the Women's Media Team on (03) 8345 2028 or (03) 8345 2921.